Presidential candidate and former National Security Advisor Mohammad Haneef Atmar, who appeared at a press conference with his team mates, criticized the “use of force” by government in appointment of the new police chief for Balkh and said it was a “miscalculated” political move.
This will threaten the security of Balkh.
Reports indicate that sporadic gunfire was heard around the police headquarters at around 6pm Kabul time. However, the newly-appointed Balkh police chief Gen. Abdul Raqib Mubariz said the situation is “under control”.
TOLOnews reporter Karim Amini, who reported live from Mazar-e-Sharif City, said the police headquarters is surrounded with military Humvees.
Atmar, who heads the Peace and Moderation election ticket, said government is trying to remove its rivals.
“This was a complete irrational and unnecessary move and was made based on incorrect political suggestions,” said Atmar. “Unfortunately, our government has ‘shameful’ record in using (security) forces against our own people. This should stop. We strongly denounce such non-Afghan actions.”
Atmar said the tenure of the incumbent government ends on May 22 and that presidential elections should be held under a responsible admiration to ensure transparency.
Atmar said government is trying to remove its rival and added that the recent attack on the 24th assassination anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, the leader of Hizb-e-Wahdat in west of Kabul proves this.
Gen. Mubariz assumed his office at around 5:30pm Kabul time – almost after three hours of gunfire which left one dead and 18 others wounded.
US Ambassador to Kabul, John Bass, called it a “green on green” attack and said it is unacceptable.
The clash was between government forces loyal to the new police chief plus forces deployed from Kabul and the forces loyal to the former chief Gen. Ikramuddin Sami.
Sami is a close aide to former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor.
Noor, who is the CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami Party, has joined Atmar’s election ticket was had warned government against the appointment of the new police chief.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement raised concerns over clashes in Balkh and urged the involved parties to resolve their problems through talks.
US Ambassador to Kabul John Bass also asked the political leaders involved in Balkh tension to call on security forces stop firing and resolve the problem peacefully. Bass said the only people who benefits from such tensions are Taliban.